The city of Mission is ordered to turn over all information regarding a man who died after he fatally shot Cpl. Jose Luis Espericueta on June 20, 2019.
State District Judge Fernando Mancias ruled in favor of Juan Carlos Chapa Jr.’s family who, on Oct. 5, filed a petition against the city and Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez in an effort to get them to turn over information they requested about what occurred that day.
Rodriguez was later dismissed from the case.
The family initially requested information from the city through a request under the Texas Public Information Act on Aug. 10.
The information they sought included the autopsy report, toxicology report, ballistics report, medical notes and reports, ambulance reports and notes, investigative reports, recordings made by the public, photos and other recordings made by the Mission police department, and recordings from security cameras at the Mission Bell RV Park/Resort where the shooting took place.
The city responded Aug. 25, stating they were seeking an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office on whether the information can be withheld.
In seeking that opinion, the city cited three exemptions to the Texas Public Information Act, including that the information requested details the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime; that the information is highly intimate or embarrassing; and that the information includes a private citizen’s vehicle title or registration and dates of birth.
The Texas Attorney General has since issued an opinion siding with the city of Mission.
During a hearing Friday, the family’s attorney, Horacio Peña, argued that the exemption regarding the investigation, detection or prosecution of a crime is not valid because Chapa was dead.
He also argued that nothing in the evidence is highly embarrassing and that the city could simply redact the private information, such as the vehicle title or registration and dates of birth.
It clearly appears that no information regarding this matter will ever result in a conviction or a deferred adjudication sentence,” Mancias wrote in his order granting the family’s request.
When asked on Wednesday if the city would appeal the ruling, they responded that “all options are being considered, including appeal.